Interview by Lauren Ash. Photography courtesy Dr. Kristian H.
I love meeting women of color in deep alignment with the collective vision I'm cultivating and co-creating with the Divine, my ancestors, and countless amazing contemporary visionary thoughtleaders and gamechangers in wellness and beauty. It's the feeling of someone cheering me on, reminding me that I'm not alone, and that what I'm up to is much bigger than I ever could have initially imagined. Dr. Kristian H., founder of BLK+GRN, has powerfully stepped into her power. A multi-hyphenate with a solid background in public health, she saw a need to gather black artisans who create consciously with the Earth and humanity in mind in one place, to uplift us, to affirm us, and ultimately to empower us. I'm 'bout it! Having Kristian be apart of our BGIO community means so much to me (including the fact that she found her community through ours!) and I know all you aspiring culture-changers will receive so much life from her wisdom in our recent conversation.
Lauren Ash: First things first, Kristian. Who are you?
Dr. Kristian H.: I am a Black woman on a journey. I am walking in my purpose to uplift other Black women. I am finding balance between vulnerability, strength, and intense focus. I am getting more comfortable with myself, learning how to set boundaries and ask for help daily. I am discovering the power of a single word sentence. No. Ask me who I am tomorrow, and the answer will likely be different.
Lauren Ash: I love the clear awareness you've cultivated in your life as to where you are in this moment. We are indeed always changing, ever in flow. Thank you for sharing who you are now. You've been apart of our #BGIOTribe for a little while now, but I know you were rocking with us for a minute before that! What does Black Girl In Om mean to you?
Dr. Kristian H: Community. Tribe. Support. When I began my wellness journey, I remember feeling really alone and isolated. I was breaking old habits, discovering new rituals, and at times it felt like the people around me simply didn’t understand. I thought I was the only Black girl in the wellness world until I found Black Girl In Om. In them, I found my community.
Lauren Ash: Girl, I hear you. I journeyed for three years through an intentional wellness journey without a formal wellness community that looked like me. Before starting BGIO, I found personal development support in my intimate group of sisterfriends, and within God. Just under four years later, it's amazing to be apart of a vibrant, diverse community of women of color that spans the globe! How do you identify with Black Girl In Om’s mission?
Dr. Kristian H.: Alignment. One of the things that I quickly learned, is the power of alignment. And when things are aligned, you do not have to force, persuade, or rush.
Lauren Ash: Yes, my favorite mantra, gifted to me first by my best friend Chelsea resonates here: what is for me, can't be taken from me.
Dr. Kristian H.: When things are aligned you feel it. I would be hard pressed to find another brand that I feel more aligned with (personally and professionally) than I do the with the mission of Black Girl in Om — to encourage self-care, self-love, and self-empowerment for communities of color. Although I use a different strategy, I founded BLK + GRN on the same mission, to empower Black women to embrace self-care and self-love, by connecting them with all natural products that are created by all Black artisans.
Lauren Ash: Amen. Our conversation during our BGIO Breathe Easy Team Retreat in Los Angeles this spring illuminated how aligned we are! I loved having you as our first BGIO Tribe Talk guest and recall when we both realized that our hour conversation could have really been an entire day! So many parallels between what we're pushing forward and our communities are one in the same.
I'm curious, as are our readers, what are your personal self-care & self-love practices?
Dr. Kristian H.: Movement. I must move my body, whether it is with yoga, going on a hike, walking my dog, or taking a cycling class, I must move to help maintain my peace. Intentional movement not only reduces stress but it's important for me to maintain a healthy mind and body. I had to learn to listen to my body, like really listen.
This means not only knowing what it is telling me, but doing what it says. I know that my body doesn't like dairy and I break out when I eat fried food. I feel the most energetic when I drink fresh pressed juices or start the morning with a green smoothie. I feel sluggish when I eat sugar, so I try to listen to my body and limit the foods that do not make me feel good.
Lauren Ash: Yes. Intuition and honoring intuition is one of our most potent and inherent superpowers. Applying it to every area of our lives always leads to powerful moments of growth and abundance! What’s one ritual you recommend more women of color adopt to cultivate inner beauty and wellness?
Dr. Kristian H: Forgiveness. Stop being so hard on yourself. Drop this unrealistic expectations. Show yourself compassion. Historically, Black women haven’t been allowed to be happy. We are taught to be strong and resilient. We are taught to be independent, hardworking, and sacrificial. The wellness movement is forcing Black women to redefine what it means to be a happy Black woman, and that starts with forgiveness.
Lauren Ash: Mmm, I've learned so much about forgiveness in the past year. Mostly about how radical self-acceptance is. For me, that's a powerful first step towards forgiving myself and also others. The more self-acceptance I can open to and allow for myself, the more self-acceptance and forgiveness naturally flows outwards. Because this is such a crucial consideration for us, what's one practical action that you have personally found helps ease this tendency we have to be hard on ourselves?
Dr. Kristian H: When I find myself being unnecessarily hard on myself, I switch my thoughts to gratitude. My routine gratitude practice is to focus on things that I am grateful for, and they are usually external to myself, such as I am grateful that my plants are still alive or I am grateful that I have spinach for my morning smoothie. But when my thoughts lack self-compassion, I force myself to think about things that I am thankful for about me. For example, I am thankful that I am focused. I am thankful that I have a positive impact on others. I am thankful that I can wrap my toes around my ankle in eagle pose (on the left, only on the left-side). I force myself to focus on my positives.
Lauren Ash: Amen. Let's close with this: what’s one wellness product you cannot live without?
Dr. Kristian H.: Since starting BLK + GRN, I have become a product junkie! I am really loving the Manuka Probiotic Deodorant by LALIN ET LA SIRÈN, the entire line of foot care products by London’s Pedisoaks (it is literally a facial for your feet), and the new multivitamin by Movita Organics. Thanks to Koya Webb, I am really unlocking the power of sage, and I love the crystal wrapped sage from Behira Soul.